Wednesday Night #2162

Written by  //  August 23, 2023  //  Wednesday Nights  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #2162

We are so very sad to share the news of the death of gifted filmmaker and former Wednesday Nighter, Paul Carvalho. John Curtin published a beautiful eulogy for his dear friend on Facebook and tributes have poured in from Paul’s many friends and associates. He was deeply loved and his work greatly admired.

As the life of Senator Hugh Segal was celebrated by prominent Canadians of every political hue (sorry!), the death of another distinguished and honourable public figure went almost unnoticed.
Former Ontario Lt.-Gov. James Bartleman, a member of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation, and an advocate for Indigenous people, served as a diplomat for more than 30 years.

Jet believed to be carrying Wagner boss Prigozhin crashes in Russia
A private plane carrying Wagner mercenary group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin has crashed, taking the lives of all on board, Moscow officials said Wednesday night. … Another Telegram channel, Wagner Orchestra, posted a photo of what appeared to be the burning wreckage of a plane, saying the Embraer Legacy 600 had been shot down by Russian air defenses.
Could this have had anything to do with the crash? Wagner mercenary group to focus on Africa, Prigozhin says in new video
The Economist: Yevgeny Prigozhin’s reported death may consolidate Putin’s power – But it shows that Russia is a mafia state
In earlier news, Russia threatens to annex Georgia’s breakaway regions
Former President Dmitry Medvedev fires broadside at NATO and the West in lengthy opinion piece.
Moscow could annex Georgia’s Russian-backed breakaway regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia, warned Kremlin security council Deputy Chair Dmitry Medvedev. As GZERO reminds us Russia invaded Georgia too, and it never left

A note from the editor of the Guardian sums up our weekly dilemma:
The exiled democratically elected leader of Belarus told the Guardian this week that her country, and the people fighting against the dictatorship, felt “forgotten”. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya explained how resistance had not crumbled – something borne out by the numbers of activists, journalists and political figures who have vanished from sight into the regime’s prisons.
It is such a common cry that the idea of the “forgotten crisis” has become a bit of a cliche for us on the global development section. Yet sadly it seems true that the world can only concentrate on one thing at a time, and at the moment that is the conflict in Ukraine. This means that other crises are being overshadowed – the crimes against humanity being unleashed now in Darfur being one – while the longer-running problems drift off, outrage settling into toleration and acceptance.
Never so true as in Afghanistan. We saw the second anniversary of the Taliban takeover and the US/UK withdrawal from Afghanistan last week with far more muted coverage than after the first year. Yet some of the worst human rights abuses are going on there now.

Congratulations India!
Wednesday morning’s news that India beats Putin in race to moon’s south pole must have made for a pretty chilly atmosphere at the BRICS summit, since Russia’s first moon mission in 47 years failed on Sunday when its Luna-25 crashed.
India is the first country to land on that part of the lunar surface, where scientists believe there’s water.

Elections you may not have been paying attention to.
Far-right outsider takes shock lead in Argentina primary election
A former tantric sex coach who plans to do away with Argentina’s public health and education systems, disband the central bank, dollarise the economy and allow people to sell their organs has moved a step closer to becoming the next president of Argentina after a landslide win in open primaries.
Ecuador election heads to run-off vote in October
Luisa González, of the Movimiento Revolución Ciudadana party, on Sunday took a lead in the first round of Ecuador’s presidential and legislative elections, which have been marred by political assassinations as the Andean nation struggles with a wave of violence that has brought homicide rates to record levels.
Anti-corruption candidate, Bernando Arévalo, wins Guatemalan election

Zimbabwe heads to the polls on Wednesday and analysts fear that the ruling ZANU-PF party will not allow a credible election or any loosening of its stranglehold on power.
UPDATE: Voting in Zimbabwe general election delayed by lack of ballot papersMost urban polling stations in Harare and Bulawayo, where opposition claims it has strong support, open four hours late
What transpires in Zimbabwe -home to Africa’s largest lithium reserves- is of critical importance. The world’s clean-energy transition will be impossible without African minerals, and a degree of resource nationalism from African countries is benefiting China, which has for decades invested in the African green-energy market and accounts for 59 percent of the world’s lithium refining. Chinese companies run the majority of Zimbabwe’s mines and are better positioned to expand domestic processing there.

This Wednesday evening, we have competition from eight leading GOP contestants (absent Donald Trump)
8 Candidates Are Announced for First G.O.P. Debate, Trump Not Among Them
Eight Republican presidential hopefuls will spar on Wednesday night in Milwaukee, without the party’s dominant front-runner.
The first presidential debate will air on Fox News and the Fox Business Network.The two-hour forum begins at 9 p.m. ET and will be moderated by Fox News hosts Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum.
How to watch the first GOP presidential debate on Wednesday night
The Atlantic’s Tom Nichols has strong views about Trump’s non-participation: Debating Trump Is PointlessWhy American democracy will be better off this year with no Trump debates
Trump says he’ll “proudly be arrested” [Thursday] in Georgia, while on Wednesday, Rudy Giuliani surrenders to Georgia authorities at Fulton County Jail

As accounts (‘Ash and debris’: Journalist covering Maui fires surveys destruction of once-vibrant Hawaii town) of tragedy, search, devastation continue to overwhelm us, and the wildfires rage on in NWT and BC (181 properties confirmed damaged or destroyed by wildfires in B.C.’s Okanagan region),
we rejoice in this story Firefighter attends citizenship ceremony while on front lines of B.C. wildfire Water Roos, Popkum, B.C.’s fire chief, becomes a Canadian over Zoom from the back of his fire truck, and take comfort in the leadership shown by President Biden who, with Mrs Biden visited Maui on the anniversary of Hawaii becoming the 50th state. (August 21 1959 Hawaii becomes 50th state). The White House says Biden has been leading a “whole of government” effort to help Hawaii recover, and White House spokesperson Olivia Dalton told reporters aboard Air Force One he approved a Hawaii disaster declaration within about an hour of receiving it.

We invite you to compare and contrast with the outcome of this week’s Trudeau Cabinet retreat:
Trudeau defends himself against internal and external criticism, but announces no new housing measures
While Trudeau said his government will “need to ensure more housing is built,” he and his cabinet are leaving the Island without committing to any new initiatives.
Canada housing crisis 2023
Trudeau announced that the “affordability crisis” would be top priority at this week’s Charlottetown cabinet retreat and we have learned that “>two housing experts who helped co-author a recent report on the federal government’s role in solving the housing crisis presented their findings to the meeting.
The report -delivered a week ago- warns that “Canada’s housing crisis is worsening dramatically” in large part because of an “extreme” lack of accessible and affordable rentals. An additional complication is the number of international students who require affordable housing. We do not envy Minister Fraser his job.
-a Montreal sidebar
Every developer has opted to pay Montreal instead of building affordable housing, under new bylaw
In the past five years, the price of condos and buildings with two or more units has risen by 43 per cent in Montreal, while in central districts it has doubled, Plante noted.
First announced in June 2019, the bylaw, dubbed “20-20-20,” initially required developers to set aside 20 per cent of new units as social housing, 20 per cent as affordable housing and 10 to 20 per cent as family housing.

Barcelona community resource named world’s best new public library
Gabriel García Márquez library in working-class district specialises in Latin American literature
In awarding the prize, the jury praised both its architecture and its innovative approach to encouraging local people to use the resource, the interaction between staff and the local community, the flexibility of the spaces and services, the commitment to learning and the sustainability of the building.

Visiting the birthplace of the teddy bear
Steiff fans and collectors make the pilgrimage to the German factory where it all started in 1902
This year’s festival set a record for antique teddy bears — the Steiff Titanic Bear Othello from 1912 sold for more than $196,000. Only a few hundred were made to honor those who died on the Titanic.

What happens when thousands of hackers try to break AI chatbots
Ben Bowman just tricked a chatbot into revealing a credit card number it was supposed to keep secret.
It’s one of 20 challenges in a first-of-its-kind contest taking place at the annual Def Con hacker conference in Las Vegas. The goal? Get artificial intelligence to go rogue — spouting false claims, made-up facts, racial stereotypes, privacy violations, and a host of other harms.

GOP Operative Working For Stephen Harper Named In Trump [Georgia] Indictment
Mike Roman, charged alongside 18 others for attempting to overturn the 2020 election, is employed as an Assistant Chairman of the International Democratic Union. Pictures posted to his social media show him on the ground supporting the 2022 blockade protests in Ottawa. Roman, Trump, Rudolph Giuliani, and several others are alleged to have conspired to create a document titled Certificate Of The Votes Of The 2020 Electors From Georgia. Purporting to be written by “elected and qualified” Georgia presidential electors, attempts were made to deliver this document to the National Archives and Records Administration, an essential step in the US electoral college system.

Long reads
There’s Only One Way to Control AI: Nationalization
AI’s infinite potential — and infinite risk — requires federal ownership.
‘We’re Loving It’ — Atlanta Reacts to Donald Trump’s Indictment
Sixty years after the civil rights movement, the city marvels at its role in hosting the trial of a former president accused of subverting democracy.

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